What's Your 'Orange Is the New Black' Bingewatch Plan?

3 years ago

It's breaking my heart, but I haven't yet watched the second season of Orange Is the New Black which dropped at this morning. All 13 new episodes are out there taunting me from the Netflix server. Friends who assumed I would have started already have been blowing up my phone asking something about Lindsay Lohan or warning me not to spoil it for them.

I can hear Regina Spektor singing the theme song in a brain loop like a siren song, luring me to log in and press "play." I've got Orange Fever, and I've got it bad. 

Image: Netflix

Perhaps like you, I'm having to dodge social media spoilers, because uber fans have been up all night burning through that juicy pile of fresh episodes. Like the chicken who is free when other chickens are not, they know things I don't. Things I don't want to know until I can bingewatch for myself!

I have a plan, though. I'm watching with a friend tonight, starting at 7:00 pm.  My time is more flexible than hers, and technically I could take a sneak peek at just the first episode...but I'm waiting because I'm an exceptionally good friend. Also, it will be fun watch together. And because I know I can't stop at just one. But mostly because I am an exceptionally good friend and now that I think about it,  I want points for that. 

We actually put a lot of thought into our bingewatch plan, a true sign of the times. The date has been on my calendar for months, and the anticipation has been growing more acute in the last week. Here's how I've prepared:

Watched the Last Few Episodes from Season 1

That last scene! Remember how we were left in the lurch with that explosion of ultraviolence? I am glad I watched those episodes again. I was reminded about how cathartic and dangerous Piper's actions were.  It's clear Piper was fighting for her personal transformation as much as for her safety. Pennsatucky had come to symbolize Piper's own repressed racism and internalized homophobia, and facing both of those themes through the racial divides in prison and her reunion with Alex is pushing Piper to change, to rail against what's broken and small inside of her. Pennsatucky, on the cross as that symbol was a brilliant bit of writing, and the actors tore into it. Plus, Pennsatucky is Pennsatucky, a compelling, wacky character worth of screentime. I'm ready for more!

Read OITNB Think Pieces from Season 1

In preparing for Season 2, I revisited some of the articles that explored the bigoted implications of telling the stories of Women of Color and lower class women through the lens of a privileged white woman, and that looked at the problems with fetishizing a sanitized version of prison culture. I am wondering if that important conversation from last year affected this season's writing at all, so I'm looking forward to that.  I'm as thrilled as ever for the excellent representation OITNB affords LGBTQ characters, and was pleased to see star Laverne Cox on the cover of Time, incendiary backlash notwithstanding.  OITNB has fans and detractors in general, but it's painful for a show that is so important to the queer community to be a disappointment to women of color, so that's on my mind in preparing to watch new episodes. 

Viewing Strategy

We've decided to watch half of the episodes tonight and then watch the second half tomorrow, with brunch and swim breaks. We also have a plan for conflict resolution in case one of us (probably me) wants to marathon through to the end or someone falls asleep or falls out of love with OITNB.  Friends don't let friends fight over bingewatching. (Praying that I remember that tonight when it's time to power down. Surely six or seven episodes of viewing will be enough, right?)

Commissary Snacks

We put way too much thought into this, considering various takeout options but ultimately deciding to go the grazing route, with homemade tapas and a cheeseboard tonight. In fact, going to the store to shop for provisions should keep me safe from watching this afternoon. Lots of wine, coffee and desserts will be available. We'll get up and make brunch tomorrow to finish the season. Lots of Twix bars are also available. Of course. 

Do you have a plan? Do you have a plan for avoiding social media until you get a plan or the time necessary to finish the season? Or are you happy to wait or pass on OITNB altogether?

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